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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Giving Thanks 09

I am going to get a Christmas Tree today, so this is my last chance to justify writing about Thanksgiving.

And what a grand Thanksgiving it was!

I would say that the biggest thing I am thankful for over the Holidays is my family. I have an incredible immediate family, but I also got to marry into one of the best families around. They have always welcomed me in with open arms and I'm so glad that they are as weird as I am. I have so much fun with them. And this Thanksgiving did not disappoint.

For the second year in a row we have ventured out to the wonderful and magical Lincoln, Nebraska! Chris's brother, Dan, and his wife, Courtney live there.

Oh, and Rudy is there, too. Sorry guys, but he is the real reason I agree to drive to Nebraska.


Devin, Katie, Jeff, Chris, and I spent four days in Nebraska and roughly 25 hours in a car. Times were had. Here are some highlights.

Thanksgiving dinner was a hit, once again. Not bad for not having parents around. I made the Olsen family Wild Rice Stuffing and everything else went really well. I think we ate a total of 72 rolls over the course of the weekend.



Thanksgiving Day isn't complete for Devin and Chris unless they beat Mario Brothers 3 from start to finish, without warping. Here is Devin in action.


A new Nebraska tradition is goin' shootin' the day after Turkey Day. We shoot clay pigeons, so don't worry. I am proud to say that I shot three this year, which is a record for me.



We also ventured to The Omaha Zoo. Enjoyment ensued.


A lost of video games were played over the course for four days. Towards the end, the girls got a little bored, so Katie, Courtney, and I got pedi's while the boys played Smash.


It definitely was another successful trip to Nebraska. Hopefully, there will be more. And thank you Dan and Courtney for having us!





Monday, November 9, 2009

Hallowed Ween

For most girls, Halloween is a time to dress up, well, skanky. Any character, occupation, or object magically becomes skanky. Skanky pirate, skanky nurse, skanky bumble bee, you name it. Halloween is the perfect opportunity to show off some of that skin that might otherwise be socially unacceptable, especially in Utah.

I, on the other hand, have always had a different agenda. The past few years I have been far from skanky.

Notice the less than flattering full body jumpsuit I sported for my April O'Neil costume one year.

And then there was the ever so attractive Red Dwarf and Black Hole combo.


But, none can beat this year's legendary duo. I give you Wayne and Garth.


I have been wanting to be Wayne and Garth with someone since the beginning of time, so as nasty as I am as a blonde, it was worth it.

We got to sport this ensemble twice this year. The first time was at the first annual Squash Bash put on by our friends Adam and Chelsea. What is a Squash Bash, you ask? Well, it's hard to describe, but lets just say that there is a lot of singin and dancin and squash bashin. Chris and I did karaoke to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. An obvious choice if you are familiar with Wayne's World.

The next night, which was Halloween, was spent at USU's production of Sweeney Todd, which was incredible. Some of my friends were in it, and it was top notch. Good work, friends.

But my favorite part of the Halloween season is the infamous Pumpkin Blow. I posted about it last year, as some of you may recall. It happens every year on the Saturday after Halloween. This is our third year partaking in this little America splendor. Behold.


80 sticks of dynamite were used this year. Notice how it is nicely tucked away in the pile of pumpkins.

Before...

After.

I tried uploading a video of the festivities but blogger won't let me. Well just know that the explosion has never been this big before. It was literally raining pumpkins. One even whacked me in the bum; a war wound that was gladly earned.

So maybe Halloween isn't my most attractive holiday, but I have a good time. Perhaps next year will bring out a more skanky Randi, but for now I will stick to nappy fun Randi and blowing things up.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Makeover Summer results

For those faithful What the Crap readers, you may recall a blog written at the beginning of the summer called Makeover Summer. And for those that didn't read it or need a refresher, you can check it out HERE.

In this blog, I went off about some of the lofty goals I had set for the summer. Here is a report.

*Getting my body in gear: Well, I must say that this one was a success. As you may have gathered from my previous post, I got way into Yoga this summer. It is a great way to trick your body into good shape because it is so enjoyable to do and so good for the soul. I don't have "the hottest body this side of the Mississippi" like I had hoped, but I did lose about eight pounds and I look a wee bit more toned.

*Eating habits: this one was, also, a success in my eyes. I fell in love with fruits and veggies and the Farmers Market. I still eat my fair share of sweets and not-so-good things but all in moderation, my friends. Every June Chris and I are vegetarians. Just for kicks. This June Chris bailed on our little tradition but I took it on with open arms and am still going strong. I even subscribed to Vegetarian Times! I just love how much better my body feels when I don't eat meat. And vegetarian dishes tend to be healthier in general. But, I will say, even though I "wax vegetarian" I am not a full vegetarian. I still eat meat if someone cooks it for me or I just feel like it. I don't really believe in totally cutting things out of your diet (unless you have to for certain health conditions) because it messes with your head. It takes away your power to choose. Like with sweets, for example. The moment I say no more sugar, is the moment I crave it like no one's business. Again, its all in moderation. Read the book Intuitive Eating. It changed my life and my relationship with food.

*My house: A mini success. For a while there, I was getting sick of my apartment. It took going house hunting to make me fall in love with it again. There are a lot of hell holes out there and I am thankful for where I live and not having to worry about so much stuff. I did a lot of fun projects like taking down a gaudy wallpaper border and painting the wall, got some new bedding, rearranged a bit, took a big box of stuff to the DI, got new plates, painted some old frames some really cool colors and got some new art work. Even though there is still some clutter in the house, it looks a lot better and I love to be in every room, which was the goal. A huge thanks goes out to the lovely and talented Mr. Jeff Cardon. He came up one weekend and helped me re-d0 a bunch of stuff. And I got one of his paintings, which is amazing. Seriously, if any one out there needs any help with anything, he is your man.

*Wardrobe: mmmm not so much. I kind of dropped the ball on this one. I did buy a few new things and got rid of some old things but nothing to write home about. This goal is kind of a costly one. But I have been allowing myself to be more girly in what I wear. I guess I did buy a buttload of cool jewelry at the Farmer's Market. So, more of an accessories makeover than a wardrobe makeover.

*And finally, mini goals: yes and no. Yes, I did play two shows since that post. No, I did not write new music or write for fun. No, I did not decrease my Facebook time. No, I did not pay off my credit card, but I did make a good dent in it. No, I did not garden. And no, I did not build up my massage clientel. It was quite a slow summer at the Spa I work at and it's been quite a slow Fall. And so, I quit there and started working from home again, which is really exciting and I am already busier at home than I was at the spa! Good times. I did read a lot of books and I take more time to pamper myself. That was a huge one for me. I have really taken the time to fall in love with myself and get to know myself again. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it has been easy for me to get lost in being married and revolving my life around someone else. Over these past few months I have really made an effort to do things for me and learn to balance that with being married. And that whole process is another post entirely that maybe I will have the courage to write someday. The journey I have taken (and am still on) to get to this healthy balance isn't really one a lot of people in my life would be a fan of, but it's been really great. And I have an awesome husband.

So, there you have it. All in all, I would say Makeover Summer was a hit. I H.A.G.S. (had a great summer. Do you remember writing that in yearbooks?)
It was the perfect theme for my summer, I think. Who knows, it might even be next summer's theme. Wouldn't that be crazy? And if you didn't do it this summer, do it next summer, or next month, or next week. You never know what will happen, but I promise it is worth it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Summa Time


Hey friends.

Yes, it has been a while since I have posted and posted something neat. So much happens in life that I just can't keep up the postings.

Life is good and busy. Before I fill you in on the here and now, here are some things that happened that were fun.

In July Chris and I got to run the Green River with our friends, Adam and Chelsea, and their family. We did a section called Ladore. It was 18 miles and it took us around 5 days. It was heaven. No phones, no internet, I didn't even wear a watch. If only real life could be like this.

Here are some hot pics. (These come up kind of small, but you can click on it to make it bigger)


Another thing that happened this summer was that I got to go to Costa Rica for two weeks. I went there to fulfill a goal I have had for a while of being a certified Yoga instructor. After many hours on the internet and many phone calls, I came across this 2 week intensive Yoga Teacher Training certification in Costa Rica. It was the best option for me time wise and money wise and it just felt like something I was meant to be apart of. So, from August 14th-30th I was livin it up in the jungle. Eat, sleep, and yoga was my life and I loved it. I met incredible people and ate the most amazing food. I not only did I learn so much about Yoga, I learned so much about myself. I really miss it.

Here are some hot pics from Costa Rica.


I was really blessed to have such an awesome summer. I left out a few other grand trips to Moab, Fargo, and Bozeman. Not much to report on those. They were just really fun.
I got back from Costa Rica a week after school started and was instantly bombarded with the pressures of getting caught up in my classes and getting back to work.
I am liking my 16 credits, working part time at a spa, and teaching yoga. Oh, I started teaching a beginner yoga class at a chiropractor's office once a week. I love it. I love yoga. Everyone should do it. It will change your life.

Well, thats all for now. Stay tuned for updates on how my "Makeover Summer" went and other current events!

I love you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09.09.09

Happy 9.9.9 everyone!

And to celebrate, this is what I saw at 9 o'clock pm with 9 of my friends.


It was legendary.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Props for my girl

My loverly friend Lynette is giving away this amazing bag on her blog. I do own one of her bags already and I love it. It's all unique and vintage and it makes me feel cool. Check it out on her blog here:

http://ladydanburrysews.blogspot.com/

Peace.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A little ditty...

Yes, it has been about a month since I have posted. I have gotten so behind on posting the exciting events of summer that I get overwhelmed when I think about posting. I do intend of posting some grand highlights of my life soon, but in the meantime I shall entertain you with another little ditty.

I just finished an online class I was doing this summer and here is a piece I wrote for it. Don't worry, it's not even close to being as long as the last piece I posted.

Enjoy.


The True Tree Hugger

I always thought Sister Nelson was a bit crazy. Her hair was always in a tight bun at the top of her head, revealing her discerning eyes. The way she dressed herself in long skirts and shirts the color of pale earth tones were not the least bit flattering on her figure that proved she had a big family. The stern way in which she taught my Sunday school class of preteens seemed to encourage us to mock her afterwards.
Most of Sister Nelson’s lessons went in one ear and out the other, except for one.
“We all have Spirits, my little brothers and sisters,” she spatters as she motions to everyone in the small Sunday school room lit only by an open window. “And even though someday we will all die, our Spirits will live on!”
Internally, I roll my eyes as I assume I had heard this lesson before.
“And not only do we humans have Spirits, but everything has a Spirit. I have a Spirit. You have a spirit. Birds have spirits. Cats have spirits! Even...um…this table has a spirit!”
“A table? How can a table have a spirit?” a fellow class member asks as we all whisper and giggle.
“ Well, look at the table. What is it made out of? Wood! Wood comes from trees and trees definitely have spirits.”


Logan Canyon had never felt so refreshing as it did one day this past winter. Logan City had been suffering from a polluted overcast season that happens in the winter months. I had forgotten how much I had missed the sunshine and fresh air as my husband and I were snowshoeing across a field covered with glistening powder. The crisp air that brushed across my nose with each crunching step reminded me of how excited I was to be alive.
I was in the zone. Having a husband who is about a foot taller than me forces my legs to move twice their natural pace. Determined to keep up on this excursion, I focused on my pace more than the breathtaking scenery around me. With my determination unknown to my husband, he got caught up with our friends we were with, leaving me alone.
Eventually, I stop to rest. As I lift my head to look around, I become overwhelmed. I notice that I stopped in the middle of the most beautiful patch of white birch trees I have even seen. The setting sun peeks in between the trees creating a golden aura around each trunk. For a moment I feel frozen in time. It’s like there is a force coming from the trees keeping me locked in place so we can exchange a moment. My heart starts to drown in unconditional love being exchanged between us.
Trees definitely have spirits echoes in my mind.


Today, at the Gardener’s Market, I bought a pendant made out of a gourd with the dark outline of a tree and its branches carved into it. When I passed it in small booth owned by a woman in a long flowing skirt and braided hair, I knew I had to buy it. I resisted the purchase until the marked was coming to a close and I chased down the flowing skirt merchant as she was leaving. Now, I wear it around my neck.
Starting at it, I start to contemplate my love for trees. My mind wanders back to my childhood and almost every memory is associated with a tree. Like the time I climbed higher than any boy in my neighborhood. Or the time I ran away from home and hid in a tree until I got hungry and went back home. And there were the many times I pretended the tree in my backyard was Grandmother Willow from the movie Pocahontas. I would often go to it for guidance in my, oh, so important childhood decisions.
I look around my apartment and notice the artwork and d├ęcor of my home consists largely of different depictions of trees. My photo albums of my adventures all over the world each feature specific trees that stuck out to me. What is with trees and me? Perhaps, it is their quiet dignity. Or how every part of them is there to serve. How their leaves provide oxygen to breath, their sap is used to eat, their wood provides building materials. Even the way they encompass the earth creates shade on a hot summer day and adds beauty to any landscape. They are the perfect example of humility and selflessness.
Eventually my thoughts take me back to Sister Nelson. Maybe she wasn’t so crazy after all. Maybe she is wiser than I ever gave her credit for. Or maybe, I am just as crazy as she is. Whatever the case, I know I am thankful for those selfless giants. Somehow they show me that everything is connected to each other, that there is something bigger than myself looking after me, and that no matter what happens, it is all going to be ok.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th, my fine feathered friends!

And to celebrate this day I bring you Devin Felix. The best brother-in-law anyone could have ever dreamed.

(He is also the lead singer and founding member of the hot ska band, Viewers Like You)

Here is a video of Devin and friends from the 4th of July two years ago. Enjoy.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Small and Simple Things

I love Chris. In case you didn't know.
The Sunday before he left on a work trip for four days, he planned a picnic in the park. We had a nice little lunch that was followed by a heavenly hammock lay while listening to Blind Pilot. It was sunny, but not too hot, as a rain storm teased us in the distance.
It was perfect.
Here are some dorky shots.


This past weekend Chris was asked to play with the band he originally started, Viewers Like You, at a wedding. It was a grand reunion and Chris preformed swimmingly.



And now, your Moment of Zen provided by the wedding of Levi and Christine.
(I want to be like this lady when I grow up)


Sunday, May 31, 2009

In case you haven't heard...

.... I'm pretty much famous.




Yes. This is me with Donny Osmond. I have already posted this photo on facebook and showed you the picture on my camera if I have seen you recently, but I got to milk this for all it's worth.

When Craig Jessop resigned as the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir a little while ago, he came to be the head of the Music and Theater departments as Utah State. Due to the recent budget cuts and all that, Craig worked his magic and got Donny Osmond to come put on a benefit show for the Arts this past Memorial Day. There was a big dinner with Donny for 250 bucks a plate that was followed by the concert. I was not that big of a Donny fan, like at all, but my brother-in-law, Devin, was convering the events for The Herald Journal and had an extra ticket. I thought it sounded like fun, so I gussied up and got to be Devin's date.

At dinner we sat at a table with Craig's daughter and close friends. It was quote enjoyable. Donny's assistant told us that she didn't know if Donny would meet with us because he had said no to every other publication for an interview. When she got back from asking him she told us to follow him out after dinner for a quick word in the hotel lobby. We did what we were told after dinner and somehow a few quick words turned into a full on interview and meeting in the hotel lobby turned into a short walk, elevator ride, and chillin in his hotel room. At first we went to the room of Donny's band but it didn't work out due to the fact the when we opened the door they were in their underwear. So, to Donny's room we went! Just Devin, Donny and his assistant, and me. It was very plesant. Donny was so kind and charming. I can see how he woos the ladies.

We said our goodbyes and off we were to the concert. And I must say, I was very impressed with the show. He still got it. He was singing and dancing like you wouldn't believe for a three time grandpa. And the two front rows were filled with screaming middle aged moms. It was halarious and he was so fun with them. It made me want to see his show in Vegas.

I feel like such a nerd but I am star struck. He really charmed me, I must admit. Chris just laughs at me because like a week ago I could have cared less about him. Ah, well.

Until we meet again, Donny....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Yoga Mind

Alright friends. Here is what I have been slaving away at for a week and a half. I recently took a week long non-fiction writing workshop that counts for 3 credits. I loved it! And this was my final product that I handed it at 9am this morning. Its kinda long for a blog post but if you wouldn't mind checking out and letting me know what you think, that would be grand. The spacing is kinda weird because I just copied and pasted it. I am rambling now because I am kind of nervous to post this, but ah well!

Ok. Enjoy.


What are we doing here?” I asked Chris. We had only been married 6 months and already were on the other side of the world, going on a late honeymoon to pursue an obsession I have had for seven years of Hobbits and The Misty Mountains.

For the first month of our trip we were able to dodge the rainstorms of a New Zealand winter, but right now, we were not so lucky. We sat on a log outside of the local thermal lodge, drenched from the early afternoon rain. The town of Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland, had a constant sulfuric waft that tickled my pores as a reminder of being far from home. Hot pots hissed in the background as its steam haunted the air. We had been there for about two hours. No car. No phone. Just our life on our backs and each other’s company.

I don’t know. Because we told him in the e-mail we would be,” my husband replied as he wiped the rain from his eyes. His tall stature caused his knees to be awkwardly at his chest as he hunched over the log. As the rain poured, his dirty blond hair appeared dirtier and his piercing blue eyes reminded me why I loved him.

Should we try calling him again?” I asked Chris. “It’s your turn.”

We did have a cheap phone card and a telephone at a nursing home across the street. We took turns running across the street, schmoozing the receptionist, and leaving voicemails for Paul, our Yoga Master that by e-mail had confirmed he would pick us up at this spot to take us home with him. We got his contact information from a pamphlet while hitchhiking around the South Island. The plan was to work for him at his retreat in return for room, board, and yoga classes.

Fine. But this is the last time.” Chris groaned as he bolted across the street.

Sitting there alone, I wondered what, in fact, I was doing there. I emailed to inform him that we were arriving a day later than expected due to the weather and the uncertainty of hitchhiking for transportation. His words of, “Yes, um, let’s see how we go with the discipline and the yoga mind,” in the emailed response kept echoing through my mind. The phrase confused me and I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant but I felt this disappointed energy surge through the computer screen as I read it. It created this familiar urge to please him and prove to him that he can trust me.

It reminded me of many times in my past where I let someone down. It’s hard to think of one specifically because they all bleed together into a raging sea of disappointment. It’s like riding a wave. I paddle my way to the top only to crash down into the troubled waters below. But this time there would be no crash. I would stand up on my board and ease myself onto dry land.

No luck,” Chris said as he came trudging back from the nursing home and plopped down next to me. “Let’s wait a little and give it one more try.”

Chris has an uncanny ability to understand me. When necessary, he can get himself into my world and take on my troubles as if they were his. And so we both sat there, determined ride this wave out.

After one more frantic attempt on the nursing home phone, I finally got a hold of Paul. A bit surprised and perhaps annoyed to hear from us, he instructed us to find the hospital and ask for a woman named Lynda. She lived with Paul and would take us home with her after her shift’s end. Finally, sweet Lynda would save us! As we dragged ourselves to the hospital, I imagined our savoir from the storm as Mother Earth in the form of a yogi. Her comely countenance embracing us as we sailed to our destined retreat in the serene New Zealand countryside.

Are you Randi and Chris? Ok. Let’s go,” Lynda said as she wrapped herself in a rain jacket. Not only was there no warm embrace or sweet smile, but her eyes dodged us as she barely recognized our existence. Instantly intimidated by her short word answers and lack of people skills, we loaded our packs into her cramped Isuzu. As she hoisted her petite body into the car, I could tell her strength was one you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of. Her short dark hair and dark eyes stared forward as we began our journey home, bouncing in the car as if driving through the choppy sea.

So, do you like to travel?” I asked her, trying to make small talk as we puttered along.

No. Travel is pointless. Why travel when you can meditate?” I couldn’t tell if she was annoyed at the thought of travel or if her native French accent, tainted with years of living in New Zealand, made her sound stern.



How long have you been practicing Iyengar yoga?” Paul asked as he stared at his computer screen, tending to his emails, Lynda at his side with her hand on his shoulder as she peered over his shoulder.

Um, well, we have an Iyengar yoga book at home we practice with sometimes,” I sheepishly replied. Chris and I felt isolated on the other side of the room, awkwardly trying to make ourselves at home.

Wait, that’s it? So you have no experience with Iyengar?” He swiveled in his chair to give us a shocked glance.

Well, just from the book I have.”

So, no experience.”

Well, that is some experience.”

No, experience is maybe 2-3 years minimum. You have no experience. I bet you don’t even own yoga mats.”

I did own a yoga mat and had been practicing from books and DVDs on and off for over 2-3 years, so had Chris, but neither of us couldn’t muster the words to defend ourselves. He was right. We were wrong.

Well, you’re here now and there is nothing we can do change that so I guess there is something for us to learn from each other,” Paul sighed, breaking the awkward silence, perhaps thinking that this might brighten the mood.

Let’s get to work,” Paul exclaimed as he finally stood from the desk chair. As a smirk appeared on his face was when I first noticed his resemblance to James Taylor. I was hoping he would break out into “Fire and Rain” but instead moved us along by saying, “Since you guys have never experienced a real practice of yoga, this is where you should start.”

It turns out that Iyengar Yoga is a whole lot more than just looking at a book. It is the most intense yoga out there. It strictly focuses on breath and the body’s alignment with the use of props like bolsters, blocks, and straps. The instructor quickly corrects any misalignment or error. To become just a beginning instructor, you have to go in front of a board with a minimum of two years experience and pass a test. And then if that wasn’t enough, you are then supposed to forget about the position your body is in and lose yourself in some spiritual journey. So, maybe we didn’t have any experience.

We grabbed yoga mats, bolsters, blocks, and straps, and moved around his tattered old furniture to make room. We set up in the main room of Paul’s home in which he built with his own two hands. He claimed it was necessary for the inner work that needs to be done in a person. I wondered why we were cramming into the main room when a spacious studio space lay just a few feet away, towards the front of the house.

The main room contained a section for the kitchen with a cooking area, a cleaning area, and a space for a table and chairs. All of which flooded together, making it hard to tell where one ended and the other began. The countertop bar created for the eye a small separation into the next section of the main area. Moving the random pot or pan on the bar would reveal the tiny cockroaches hibernating within. Paul didn’t seem to mind them though, as they cohabitated in perfect harmony.

Looking from the kitchen to the left sat the desk. There sat the computer surrounded by a mess of letters and bills, misplaced DVD’s and old books that are destined to cure the soul. Later, I would find Lynda there sneaking in a chick flick while Paul was out of town for a class.

Straight ahead was the couch covered with blankets of odd patterns to cover up its age. Below the left arm of the couch sat a small iron fireplace and a basket of wood scraps from the yard. The couch faced a wall of shelves filled with books and books that would later consume my consciousness. Between the couch and the wall laid an open space that it often filled up with yoga mats and meditation pillows, but on the off times remained open and bare, exposing the nakedness of the trees. To the right was a glass sliding door that led to the deck that led to the acres of breathtaking New Zealand countryside. Later, Lynda would put on her child sized, purple gum boots, go out on to the deck with her rifle and giggle as she killed an innocent rabbit to bring in, boil, and feed to the chickens. Large windows interrupted the wooden walls, letting the natural light shine in and create a portal to the world outside. In the mornings, mist would creep in along the rows of fruit trees and tickle the toes of the rolling hills.

“Just practice a sequence from this book. Let’s see where you guys are at. I’ll help if you need it.”

A book landed at our feet as we finished setting up our props. Choosing a sequence similar to one we knew in a book from home, we start, not sure how we will hold up.

As I carefully lean forward and down into downward dog, I make sure my heels are firmly stuck to the floor, displaying the flexibility of my calves.

“Are your quads engaged? How about your wrists? Engage your wrists!” he calls from across the room. I glance over assuming he could read my thoughts as he stood on his hands and crossed his legs over his head.

Engage my wrists? My quads? How do I-? What are you-?

All muscles are engaged in every pose. You have to constantly be checking in with yourself. Ok, now hold it longer…..longer….longer…”

Collapsing on the ground I search his eyes for further instruction. By this time he had made his way over to me.

Try one on this page. Both of you. Grab chairs.”

He points out a pose where you put your weight on your upper back and neck as you flip your legs over your head and rest them on the chair behind you.

You can do it, come on.” He recognized the baffled look on our faces.

As I start to awkwardly maneuver myself into the position on the page, Paul interjects.

No, no, get there from just lying on your back. Use yourself to get your legs on that chair. No cheating.”

What are we doing here? I wondered as I lay flat on my back, not able on conceive the idea of my body moving like that.

Just try.” Paul said as he walked back to his mat and stuck his leg behind in neck.

From the second I had contact with Paul, I felt like I was being tested. Every word I said was somehow being interpreted as a reflection of my life. Every move I made told him something about the workings of my soul. I had somehow challenged him in the game of life and I was losing. I resented him for how closely he watched me.

How he thought he knew me.

But- I can’t- arrggghh!!” I grunted as my legs flailed in the air above me, kicking the air as if the ground would be there and propel me to the chair.

Chris and I exchanged the doubts we were having in ourselves and about the hole we dug ourselves in.

After 10 minutes of listening to us moan, Paul finally chimed, “Quit thinking. Just do it.”

Quit thinking...just…do…it!

And just like that my legs were on the chair as if his words grabbed my toes in an effortless pull.

See. Now hold it. Longer…longer…longer….”



“Is there anything we can do to help?” Chris and I were eager to earn our keep.

“Do you know how to prune trees?”

I didn’t even know what pruning meant, but Chris was up for the challenge.

“Yeah, I have done it once or twice.” Chris replied, pleased to be of service.

“Well, then, come with me. Randi, you can restock the woodpile. Just take the pile of wood outside and stack it in the pile in the bathroom.”

Stacking wood. Seemed easy enough.

“And it looks like it’s going to rain today, so if you don’t have work clothes you can borrow some. They’re in the dresser in your room.”

There was only one other bedroom in the house besides his. It was a spacious room in the corner of the house that was full of old mattresses and foam pads stacked on each other. This room was screaming commune living. There were two closets filled with worn out pillows and blankets for the taking. And, as promised, two dresser drawers were full of wholly t-shirts, and plain splattered scrubs. We grabbed the closest clothes to our size and our raincoats and we were off to work.

Paul chuckled at our blue gortex layers, protecting our bodies from the rain as if it would some how burn our skin. He didn’t believe in waterproof layers. Wool from New Zealand’s own Merino sheep was more than enough to do the job. I guess a country that has more sheep than people has got to have some pride in what they have to offer.

“Yeah, so, you get a little wet, but this wool absorbs the moisture and it keeps you real warm,” was his reasoning.

There was a little nook under the window of the bathroom for wood storage. My job was to take piles of chopped wood under the plastic covering in the yard and move it into the nook. I lost my self in the work. The rhythm of moving from one pile to the other caused a hypnotic trance in the constant mist of Rotorua. Being proud of my progress, I removed the plastic covering from descending pile to expose the pieces cowering from the showers.

The wood nook was complete. Its supply carefully stacked as a result of a seasoned Tetris player. Ready to move on, I approach Paul for my next task like I had moved to the next level of a game.

"Good on ya. You can go help Chris pick of the branches in the yard." Good on ya was a phrase we adopted while in New Zealand. It represented a job well done and a casual congratulations; a pat on the head for a good girl.

"Ok, great!" I moved on to help Chris with the fruit trees with a new confidence that this week was going to work out after all.

The morning carries on. I lose myself again in the rhythmic movements of moving discarded branches into a messy pile to be used later as fire starters. Connecting with the unwanted branches, I thank them for their service in the trees and a job well done. Good on ya, branch.

"Randi!" Paul yells from the top of the hill and down onto the patch of trees I have found myself in.

I have heard that tone before. What did I do?

"Randi, what did you do? Are you totally oblivious?"

"I don't really know what you mean? I did I stack the pile wrong?" How could I have stacked the pile wrong? I did exactly what he told me to do.

"You are obviously not living in the Yoga Mind, Randi. You left the plastic covering off of the wood in the rain! You have to finish what you start. Now all of the wood is drenched and who knows how long it will take to dry."

Paul was not one to raise his voice but the intensity of how he speaks when angry was enough to make you feel the size of a kitten.

"I'm so sorry, " was all that came out. It took every fiber of my being to not burst into tears. "I didn't even think to do that. I guess it slipped my mind. "

"I guess it did." Silently he walked back to the shed where he was working. The silence drenched with frustration.

As I awkwardly placed the plastic cover over the newly ruined woodpile, my mind, fighting with my tear ducts, went blank. Now, I just remember standing there in the rain, as it washed away any trace of my self-esteem.

Wake up, do morning practice, eat some breakfast, read, go to afternoon yoga class with Paul, lunch, yoga class, explore Rotorua, more yoga, dinner, read, evening meditation, bed.

That was a typical day, mixed in with the occasional walk, documentary, or deep conversation.

As much as tried to soak in all of the knowledge that came oozing out of Paul and notice how blessed I was to be living in the most gorgeous place in the world where my only responsibility is to practice yoga, I found myself frustrated. Not only did I realize how weak my body actually was, I realized how week my mind was. And for the first time, I was jealous of Chris. I was jealous of how easy it was for him to wake up in the morning. How quickly he progressed with the yoga positions. How him and Paul would laugh and go for hunts in the backyard. How he wasn’t allergic to the cat. How he didn’t ache for home.

Eventually, the time had come to say goodbye to Paul and Lynda. We were to go to class one more time with them at the Thermal Lodge and leave from there. My mind and body found relief in the fact that it was a beginner class. I had already pushed myself through two advanced classes earlier in the day.

We begin. As I brought myself to do a move, I wait for Paul to make the rounds, rambling off something about the mind being more powerful than the body and how one must tune out the resistance within and just let go. He passes me as I tried to sit and wrap my arms around my legs and lengthen my neck down. I had grown accustomed to his touch and found comfort in correction.

“You have all the flexibility in the WORLD,” pressing my forehead to the mat as he punched the word “world.” I was in shock at the position I was in. Excitement over comes me as I morphed into a position I had never experienced, and that Paul acknowledged my potential.

As the class came to a close, we lay on our backs and focused on our breathing. My mind wandered, reflecting on the week. I think back to when we thought we were going to work for our room and board. I think of how relieved I am that we chose to just pay him money instead of work for our room and board. I chuckled to myself at Paul’s infatuation with Austin Powers movies. I cherished the time Lynda and I shared exchanging trials of our past. My mind moves to the girlfriend who came to class with one of the other students. I baffled at how she had never practiced yoga in her life, but Paul kept praising her and saying how much of a natural she was. I wondered why I never got that praise. I wondered why I was so anxious to leave Paul’s but knew I would miss it when I was gone. I thought about how closely I watched Paul. How everything he said was a reflection of his life and every move he made reflected the workings of his soul. How I thought I knew him.

And for a moment the focus of my breath is gone, the focus of myself is gone, and I lay there longer…longer….longer….

“And come back. Stand up when you are ready,” gently spoken to bring us back to reality.

We pack up our things, gave Paul our money for the week, and said our goodbyes. Since there was no “good job” or “great progress” coming from Paul, I couldn’t help but ask.

“So…. How did I do?”

“You were ok,” was his response as he was packing up his bags, not even making eye contact.

You were ok? Ok? I worked my butt of all week for just an Ok?

“I was like you in the beginning. It took me a few years to really get in to yoga. You’ll get there. Oh, and good job, Chris.”


We were in New Zealand for three more weeks after we left Rotorua. Both of us attempted to keep our yoga practice afloat. Chris, of course, held out longer than me. I found myself frustrated without Paul’s all-knowing eye. Paranoia followed every move I attempted to make. How did I know if the point from the top of my head to my tailbone was perfectly in line? I didn’t know, and if I couldn’t practice yoga Paul’s way, I didn’t want to practice at all.


A year has past since New Zealand. And a year has past since I have practiced yoga. Well, physically. My “yoga mind” has been stretching ever since I left Paul’s. Close to everyday I ponder something I read in his library. Frequently, a demanding task will come up and the phrase, “Quit thinking, just do it,” enters my brain. I, also, find myself falling into rhythmic patterns often as I go throughout my day. I am even stretching my mind to bring me to practicing the yoga poses again. In a month I’m starting a Yoga Teacher Certification class. It will be a bit daunting for me, but I am ready. I am sailing through to my destination and I am at peace.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Makeover Summer

One of the many little quirks I have is that I like to make themes for my summers. It started when I lived in Jackson Hole for a summer. I entitled that summer "The Summer of Adventure." And you have to raise your fist in excitement as you say it. Then there was "Summit Summer" where my goal was to summit a bunch of peaks. There was "Mission Summer," when I went on my mission. Last summer was "Mission: Frodo Summer," that was spent in New Zealand.

This summer is.........(drum roll)..........."Makeover Summer!" What do I mean by Makeover Summer, you ask? Well, let me explain.

*First things first, get my body in gear. We are all feeling it. The extra layers of warmth we all gain in the winter months are starting to be unnecessary. So, with my new road bike, climbing gear, yoga mat, and sunny weather, I plan on having the hottest bod this side of the Mississippi by summer's end.

*Second, my eating habits. This past semester I took a basic nutrition class at USU. It rocked my socks and I learned a buttload. I plan on giving my refrigerator a makeover and applying all of the wonderful things I learned in my NFS class. Which I have been doing and have seen a big difference in myself already. And maybe even start food storage?! Whoa.

*Thirdly, my house. Now, I'm not talking extreme home makeover. I just want to de-clutter my house and be in love with how every room looks. I am really excited about this one. Over these past two semesters Chris and I have been so busy that how the house looks gets really neglected. We have so many piles of papers from school all over the place. Well, schools out, baby, so those papers are going to fly! Into the recycling, of course.

*Fourth, my wardrobe. For the most part, I am pleased with how I dress. But, I am 24, people. I still wear clothes I've had since Jr. High. There is a part of me that is a little scared to wear nicer clothes for reasons I'm sure only a therapist could tell me, but I'm ready to step it up a bit. Not wear pajamas everyday. Maybe do my hair a little more often. Wear eye liner. Buy heels.

*And lastly, a hodgepoge of mini goals, like taking time to pamper myself, not wasting away hours of my precious life on facebook, clean the car and keep it clean, pay off my credit card, read a lot of books, write for fun, garden, write songs and get back into the music scene, build up my massage clientelle, and all that jazz.

So, I'm pretty excited for this summer. Utah is the best place for summer, I think, and we don't have too many Utah summers left before we graduate and move on in life.

I am officically done with finals and so Makeover Summer has begun! I even gave my blog backround a makeover, if you didn't notice.

And I challange you to have your own Makeover Summer because it's fun to improve and switch things up a bit.

Ready.....Set.....Go!

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Birthday...It's Birthday Time

That's right, people, it's Birthday Time. Well, it was on April 17th. I turned the mighty age of 24. And in honor of my coming of age and journeying further into the depths of adulthoodness....

....I had a Princess Party!

Those of you that have know me most of my life know that I have never been much of a girly girl. I don't like pink, I don't know how to do my hair, I didn't own Barbies, and I have never had a Princess Party. As I have been embracing my adulthoodness, I have also been embracing my girliness. And ya know what? I like it. Being a girl is fun! And I have pictures to prove it.

But let me start at the beginning of my day.

My wonderful parents sent me a mandolin in the mail! I have always wanted to learn and have merriment with one, and so now I can! It's name is Randolin the Mandolin. It came with a Disney Princess Birthday card that played a cheesy Happy Birthday Princess song sung by some chick. It was perfect.

(those are packing peanuts I'm swimming in, FYI)

I share my birthday with my acting professor and director of Assassins, Mr. Kevin Doyle. So, in our Shakespeare class we had cake and bagels and looked at fun pictures.

And then I was serenaded by my brother-in-law's band Veiwers Like You on the Quad for A-Day.
Here is the band and their fans skankin' it up. A little birthday skank, if you will. If you are unfamiliar with what "skanking" is, you can find the definition HERE.


And after much anticipation and dollar store purchases, I give you The Princess Party.

Everyone was asked to dress up as a princess of sorts. Even the men were encouraged to embraced their inner princess.

Princess Gertrude (Pete) and I

Sleeping Beauty (Chris) and Cinderella (Jer)
Princess Adam and Princess Nate
Princesses Chelsea, Brooke, and Hannah
Princess Peach (Wave)
Princess Brooke with Wagner the Jester
And there were many others that I didn't get pictures of.






We had a merry time playing Kiss the Prince. The boys looked dashing in lipstick.

But Kelly, as the Pretty Prince of Parties, won Eric's heart.

Another highlight was The Wishing Well. If you tossed in a coin and pulled out a ribbon as whimsical music played from Wave's cell phone, you found an enchanted Princess fortune at the end of your ribbon of choice. It was halarious.

See the beautiful Princess Nate guarding Ye Old Wishing Well.


The party ended by partaking of the amazing princess cake Chelsea made for me. The flowers on the cake were a gift from Chris earlier that day and the candles were, well, all we could find.


Everyone was given a little party bag as they left, filled with goodies that any Princess would need!


And for a perfect ending to a perfect day, Chris and I ventured up to Old Main and became "True Aggies" together. It is an old tradition at Utah State to become a True Aggie. This happens by kissing someone on top of the "A" on a certain night at midnight each semester. Chris and I have been meaning to do this for quite some time since we both were not True Aggies.

When we arrived there was a huge line and and a huge crowd around the A. I flashed some ID and we got to go to the front of the line, with it being my birthday and all. As we got to the top of the A, I shouted to the crowd, "It's my birthday!" And as we kissed we had cheers from the crowd screaming Happy Birthday. It was magical.


So, there you have it. My 24th birthday. Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes and the joyous celebration. It was the perfect day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stay Cool

Watch this. I hope it rocks your socks.


Click here: Stay Cool


Consider my socks rocked.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today I realized one of my childhood dreams came true, without even knowing that it did. I love it when this happens.Do you remember Inspector Gadget? I'm not talking about the box office hit with Matthew Broderick. I'm talking about the old school cartoon. With the blonde, pig tailed Penny, the annoying but kinda cute sidekick dog Brain, and the mysterious, evil hand of Dr. Claw.

I remember being so envious of Penny and her "book". You know her little computer book that supplied her with all of the information she needed in an instant. Seriously, as a kid I wanted that book so bad. It was new, different, magical.

I never dreamed that someday, I would have one on my own.


Thank you, Mac, for making my dreams come true.....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Isn't it about....time?

So, I suppose I should post. I really do enjoy posting so I don't know why I don't do it more often. Could it be my busy life with a dash of laziness? Perhaps.

Oh in my last post I mentioned that I would post about my Valentine's day and the play. Well, I feel that the moment has past so I will just say that I had an amazing Valentine's day and I love Chris.

And here is a picture of me as Squeaky Fromme with my partner in crime, Aubry as Sarah Jane Moore, in the musical Assassins.


And now on to more exciting things in life. My fish tank. For my birthday last year Chris got me a beta fish and two crabs because we can't have pets at our apartment. We named the fish Gandalf and the crabs Ren and Stimpy. Sadly, Ren and Stimpy are no longer with us because of bad parenting. I guess we were supposed to have a plant for them to climb that went above the water so they could get air. Well, we had a plant but it didn't quite reach the top. We always found them at the top of the plant and we thought, "Oh, it's so cute how much they like that plant." Little did we know they were gasping for air, trying to stay alive.

A few weekends ago Chris, Devin, and I went to Petco to look at the dogs up for adoption. We totally fell in love with one of the dogs and it was painful that we couldn't take her home. So, as an attempt to ease the pain we bought a friend for Gandalf. Mainly because it's called a White Mystery Snail. I mean, how could you resist that? We named him Shadowfax. Thats right. I am a Lord of the Rings nerd.

Here they are living in harmony together. It's beautiful, really. The Petco lady told us that snails eat cucumbers. What the what? How mysterious. So we put it to the test.

We watched Shadowfax chase that cucumber for over and hour. I know. But trust me, it was entertaining. Eventually we went to bed but the next morning, success!


And in a week that baby was gone! Oh, that Shadowfax...

So, ya. I think thats enough excitment for one post.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Surprise Visitors!

My apologies for the absence of my writings. I made a goal to post more frequently but I have been sucking at it. Ah life... but over the past month or so I have been blessed with the presence of some amazing friends and family members.

The lovely and talented Kilene Cardon got married at the end of January. I love it when people from Fargo get married because it is a huge reunion of everyone I grew up with. It was so good to see everyone. But the biggest surprise was to see Jessica Albrecht!! My brother, Matt, showed up with her as his date. She was my Young Women's leader growing up but more than that, one of my dearest friends. I even lived with her and her cute family in Spokane, Washington. I have not seen her since I lived with her like 4 years ago. I can't even express how good it was to see her. I love her dearly.



I am sad that Jessica didn't bring her husband, Aric, but Matt wasn't. I caught Matt wooing Jessica on the dance floor. Don't they look guilty?


Speaking of Matt's dating life... the next time I would see Matt was when he was coming up to see me in the play Assassins at Utah State. It was on Valentine's Day. I had made reservations at a restaurant for six. Me and Chris, my friends Brooke and Wagner, and Matt and his date "Michelle." The plan was to all meet up at the restaurant. Well, as I walk to meet Matt and Michelle, Michelle turned out the be the one and only Micheal J. Olsen! I can't beleive my dad flew all the way here to see me in the show! My mom came earlier in the week to see the show but that was because she had already planned a ski trip out here. Twas grand to see her, as usual. But my father was a complete surprise. I loved it! I really have the best parents in the world. Some of my extended family made it to the show as well. A big hug and thank you to them.

The reason I didn't do this post earlier was because I have been waiting for my dad to send me the pictures he took but his computer crashed or something and I can't wait any longer. So this one will have to do.

We had a big brunch type party the following Sunday. Chris's brother and sister and friends also came up for the weekend so we had a full house. I loved it!


And the last surprise visit I shall mention is none other than Drew Danburry himself. Accompanied by his darling wife. Some of you may know of Drew. He is a wonderful musician that I have known for, oh, about 4 or 5 years. He is always on tour and I have had the pleasure of housing him a few times. From Spokane, to Fargo, to Logan. It was so nice to see him and Lynette. I love you guys! And Lynette gave me an awesome purse she made. You should check out her stuff HERE. You will love it. And check out Drew's blog HERE. He has a great new music video posted.

This is an old school pic of Drew and I in Spokane.


So thank you all for those that came to visit this past month. It was so exciting and crazy and fun! You guys are the best. And soon I shall post about the play I was in and the rest of Valentine's day. I didn't want to jam pack this post too much.

Peace and love.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alright. I am a bit behind on the updates in my life. Things have been crazy! I am a full time student, have my own business, teach primary, and have had a lead part in a play that rehearses at least 15 hours a week. Along with trying to keep the house clean and do all my homework. Oh ya, and spend time with Chris.

But amongst the business Chris and I have had the blessing of falling in love.....with two other couples. Nate and Heidi Eiman and Adam and Chelsea Brewerton. Ever since we met them at the beginning of January in our ward and we have been spending time with them almost everyday since. We all got rock climbing memberships separately and started climbing together. From there we went snowshoeing and then started finding excuses for parties. And now we just hang out because we want to. It's been such a blessing for Chris and I to meet and get close to other couples up here in Logan. And through these couples we have met so many other great people in our ward and I am finally feeling like I am getting settled in this town.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE all of my other friends inside and outside of Logan. But this post is just a special shout out to my new special friends. Here are some hot pics.

Here is Heidi and me trying to be apron models for Chelsea's website. Look at us all home-makey!


Happy Birthday to Nate!



The awesome Whiting family that we go to know through the Brewertons. They had us all up at their cabin in the Uintahs for cross country skiing.


Heidi and Adam whipping up crepes at our International Crepe Day and Groundhog's day party.


Nate, Adam, Chris playing a heated game of Risk....that lasted forever....but Chris won.


Chelsea and Heidi cross country skiin' it up.


We love you guys and thank you for being our friends!